News you can trust since 1817

Day in the Life: Jessica Thompson, general manager and co-owner of Mingary Castle

This is her average day at the Kilchoan castle hotel

Published: January 16, 2023

I take out my two dogs, Hamish (a miniature wire-haired dachshund) and Hector (a fox red Labrador). They need a good morning walk before the day starts. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many fields, beaches and greenery, it makes morning walks fun.


I head to the castle and the working day begins. I will help with a smooth breakfast service, catch the guests before they go out for the day, so I can help with directions or planning. Also, I make sure to say goodbye and thank you before they depart.


This is coffee time before allocating the team duties. It’s sometimes enjoyed with some of chef patron Colin’s delicious lemon drizzle or fruit cake. When it is busy at the hotel, I’ll jump upstairs and help with the housekeeping, including making beds and so on, or sometimes I will have a morning spent on admin in the office.


I usually take my lunch break now, and will take the dogs out for a walk around the estate. Then I’ll catch up with the team to see how their day is going.


20 traditional Scottish dishes that are at risk of dying out

It’s usually a bit quieter, so I have time to contact suppliers and reply to emails. Colin and I usually brief the evening team for dinner service, as our menu changes daily, it is important that the team are knowledgeable about the changes and wine pairings. We will then usually start to set up for service.


New guests start to arrive from now until about 5pm, so I make sure I am on hand to greet them and help with their itinerary during their stay.


Michelin Guide 2023: new Scottish restaurants that made the UK list

Another walk with the dogs to stretch their legs before the dinner service. Then we have a team/staff dinner and the dogs have a nap (it is tiring work, being princes of the castle). Staff dinners are often very hearty, homemade dishes like fish mirepoix with mashed potato or a staff favourite like Colin’s sweet potato and chickpea curry. Sometimes we have homemade fish and chips or pizza as a treat.


I am very hands on with dinner service, hosting the guests and working with my waiting staff to ensure a high level of service.


19 Edinburgh bars for watching rugby: where to see Scotland vs England and all the Six Nations matches

I sometimes finish now, though other times I keep working until 11pm or midnight. When I know the guests have enjoyed their evening meal I check the agenda for the next day and answer any emails, then I leave the team to finish serving any after dinner drinks and head home with the dogs.

At home, there’s a final bedtime walk before I can change into my pyjamas. We have a cold house so it’s essential to get the fire on or curl up under a blanket before we put on an episode of whichever series Colin and I will be watching (currently it’s New Amsterdam), then I’ll have a herbal tea before heading to bed.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

Let us know what you think


Copyright ©2023 National World Publishing Ltd
Cookie SettingsTerms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram